Linea Nigra: The Pregnancy Line

Team Peanut9 months ago5 min read

We see you’re sporting the hottest in pregnancy fashion: the linea nigra. Nice! The linea nigra is the so-called pregnancy line, and it comes in the form of a dark vertical stripe down your belly. (Ooo, and if you want a real WOW effect, pair it with a gorgeous melasma, or pregnancy mask, and some perfectly darkened nipples.)

Linea Nigra

If you’re looking for yet another whacky pregnancy occurrence, discovering a pregnancy line on belly may just fit the bill. It’s the result of the hyper-pigmentation that might just be happening in all sorts of fun places on your body. It’s not, as one might hope, the development of a zipper that you can pull down when your delivery date arrives to make the whole birthing process a little easier.

Where do you find this magical line? Well, It runs vertically from somewhere near your belly button to your pelvis and is about 0.4 inches wide.

This, like all the other glorious bodily markings that life experience gives us (think: cellulite dimples, scars, stretch marks, laugh lines), is a painting on our canvas—and what a job life is doing at creating this artwork.

So let’s take a little look at where the famous linea nigra comes from and when you might expect it to make an appearance if it hasn’t done so already.

When does the line on a pregnant belly appear?

When does linea nigra appear?

The pregnancy line usually arrives on the scene in the second trimester. If it’s going to. Sometimes it doesn’t appear at all. And you know what? If you get a pregnancy line, that’s exactly what you’re supposed to have. If you don’t, that’s also exactly right too.

The linea nigra is typically nothing to worry about but if you feel as though anything is not happening the way it should, it’s always a good idea to check in with your doctor.

When does linea nigra go away?

In most cases, the pregnancy line will just disappear like nothing ever happened—so take lots of pictures! When your baby arrives on the scene, the line will usually fade after a few months.

Linea nigra causes

So what causes linea nigra? Now that’s an interesting one—and may not be as cut-and-dry as you’d think.

Let’s get back to that hyperpigmentation that may feel like it’s happening on every inch of your body. Nipples, face, belly—nothing seems exempt.

One of the craziest things is, that line that darkens? Well, it’s been there the whole time. I know, right? In other less obvious times, it is referred to as the linear alba—a white-ish line that almost perfectly bisects the body. It’s only when hyperpigmentation occurs that the line typically makes a more dramatic appearance on the stage.

And guess what? It’s not only pregnant women that get the so-called pregnancy line. Regardless of gender, age, and the existence of a living, breathing, growing peanut inside your belly, the famous linea nigra shows up when it’s good and ready to do so. It’s versatile like that.

So, if it’s not just a symptom of pregnancy, what on earth is causing this magical line to form? We’ll give you one guess.

That’s right. Hormones appear to be claiming this one too. So predictable. But, yes—medical professionals seem to agree that hormones do play a role here. Which ones would those be exactly? Estrogen and progesterone, both of which are having a bit of a party during your pregnancy. They work to stimulate cells called melanocytes. These then go on to produce melanin and, in doing so, make your skin darker.

If you want to believe a more inventive story, try on this old wives’ tale for size: Take a look at your pregnancy line. Does it go above your belly button? Congrats. It’s a boy. Below? You guessed it—a girl will be bursting onto your scene.

How to get rid of linea nigra

What should you do to send your pregnancy line packing?

Okay. This may be a little controversial, but maybe the answer is: absolutely nothing. It will typically fade with time. While it’s around, why not wear it with pride. Seriously. It’s artwork, remember? And it’s usually only around as long as your pregnant belly is.

If you’re like, “But I hate it. Please don’t make me do this…” that’s also completely legitimate. While there’s very little that can make the linea nigra go away in an instant, there are some steps you can take. Remember the Wear Sunscreen song of yore? Yup, this would be a good time to heed that advice. Any tan on that baby bump and that line is going to scream even louder for attention. If you’re in the sun a lot, some sort of cover-up is probably a good idea.

Further reading Can You Tan While Pregnant?

Then, of course, if you’re feeling creative, you can do wonders with a bit of make-up. So, if you have a pregnant belly photo shoot coming up and you’re not too keen to show off the line, a little foundation can go a long way.

Walking the pregnancy line

Pregnancy throws up all the brands of weird. The linea nigra is one such phenomenon. But rather than feel urgh about it, why not take this as an opportunity to fall a little more deeply in love with that body of yours and all it’s able to accomplish? You’re growing a whole new person! What could be more beautiful?

Or tell us to shut up. Because the last thing you need right now is yet another opinion on how to do your pregnancy.

You do you. We’ll think you’re beautiful while doing so.